Composing for The Father

The director of THE FATHER wanted an immersive soundtrack for the play, underscoring André’s emotions, confusion and eventual decline. He invited his friend and former colleague MARTIN HEATH to compose some music for the production. Eighteen remarkable tracks have been written and recorded. Here, Martin explains how he went about writing the score.

The Father presents us with a world as André sees it - dominated by confusion, frustration and paranoia.

I wanted to evoke these feelings amongst the audience using musical techniques which would be unsettling - shifting tonality taking away the certainty of a definitive key, unfamiliar time signatures depriving the audience of a reassuring two-or-three-in-a-bar pattern, musical styles which do not fit neatly into accepted genres.

The Father - Melody Coupejpg

Martin's daughter Melody plays strings in the recordings for THE FATHER.

I felt that the piece had to start from a position of relative comfort and reassurance, so we could trace the deterioration of André’s state of mind. Therefore, a pastiche of a Mozart sonata is the first thing we hear. It also introduces a motif which appears in various guises throughout the play, providing both the reassurance of familiarity and the uneasiness of hearing distortions of the familiar.

The ending was a particular challenge - is André’s regression to childhood a welcome release or the final collapse of a once-great mind?

By using a lullaby, I allow the audience to feel a sense of relief in the comfort André has found in the arms of his nurse but, inevitably, the discordant ending tells us his mind is far from contented.

Martin has brought together his talented family to record the tracks. Martin plays the piano whilst his daughters Melody and Coral are on strings and harp.

The Father - Coral Heathjpg
Coral Heath plays the harp.

  • The play's director Martin Borley-Cox writes about staging the play
  • Kate Billingham talks about her dad's dementia and staging the play
  • Donate to Alzheimer's Society
  • Watch a video of Kate on the White Cobra YouTube Channel
  • Willy Gilder writes about being an artist who also has Alzheimer's
  • Watch a video of Willy on the White Cobra YouTube Channel
  • Martin Heath writes about composing the music for THE FATHER
  • Watch a video of Martin on the White Cobra YouTube Channel